Bank Zero vs TymeBank vs African Bank – fees compared

Competition heats up in this segment, with one bank hamstrung in a specific area …
TymeBank is by far the best priced for cash deposits, charging R6 per R1 000 at PnP and Boxer stores. Image: Shutterstock

Bank Zero’s launch earlier this year means the country now has three banks offering transactional bank accounts with zero fees.

The mutual bank joins TymeBank and African Bank in this segment of the market, but TymeBank and Bank Zero are unique in that they are both actively targeting business customers. However, TymeBank’s business account is linked directly to a personal account and is only available to sole proprietors. Bank Zero’s account is available to private companies (Pty Ltds), close corporations and sole proprietors.  (There are an increasing number of wallet-type solutions that also have no monthly charges, but these do not offer functionality like electronic transfers or debit orders.)

These three accounts are very similar, with TymeBank’s partnership with Pick n Pay and Boxer to enable zero-fee cash withdrawals at the retailers’ till points a key differentiator.

Account holders are incentivised to use this channel as withdrawals at other retailers cost R3, more than the R2 charged by Bank Zero and African Bank.

If you’re likely to need to deposit cash frequently, TymeBank is by far the best priced at R6 per R1 000 at PnP/Boxer. African Bank’s MyWorld account charges R5 for the first R500 (or part thereof) deposited at a till, with fees of 2% of the value on amounts higher than that. That means a R1 000 cash deposit at a till will cost a customer R20. Its fees at cash acceptor machines at its own branches are even steeper, at R3 per R100.

Bank Zero is somewhat hamstrung as it does not currently offer the ability for account holders to deposit cash.

This is a significant barrier, despite the bank’s app-first, digital-first strategy. One can assume that it is surely negotiating some sort of partnership with the country’s largest retailers (Shoprite Group/Pick n Pay) to address this.

Read: SA retailer quietly launches bank account to 20m customers

African Bank MyWorld Bank Zero TymeBank EveryDay Personal
Monthly account fee R0 R0 R0
Card payments/swipes R0 R0 R0
Electronic transfer (own accounts) R0 R0 R0
Prepaid airtime/electricity 50c R0 R0
EFT to own bank R0 R0 R0
EFT to another bank R0 R0 R0
SendMoney to account at own bank R10 (immediate payment) R0 R0
SendMoney to self (cardless cash withdrawal) Not disclosed R8.50 R0
SendMoney to someone at another bank R10 (immediate payment) R8.50 R6
Debit order R3 R0 R0
Draw cash at till (POS) R2 R2 R0 at PnP/Boxer, R3 at other retailers
Draw cash at ATM R9.50 per R1 000 R9 per R1 000 R10 per R1 000
Cash deposit (at till) R5 for R500, thereafter 2% R6 per R1 000 (at PnP/Boxer)
Balance enquiry at ATM or POS R0 at POS, R4 at ATM R2 R3
Initial card R0 R79 (delivery R139-R179) R0
Nuisance fees (exceeding limits, insufficient funds) R4 (R7 for declined debit order) R2 R3
Proof of payment (email) R0 R0
Proof of payment (SMS) 40c R1.50 R0
Transaction notifications (app) R0 R0 R0
Transaction notifications (SMS) 40c 30c
Dispute/stop debit order Not disclosed R8 R9
Dispute card transaction Not disclosed R30 R9

If withdrawing from an ATM (which none of these banks have), these fees range from between R9 and R10 per R1 000 (or part thereof). This is far pricier than withdrawing from a till.

African Bank’s MyWorld account differs from Bank Zero and TymeBank in that it charges a R3 fee for each debit order. Debit orders on the other banks’ accounts are free.

Bank Zero is the only bank to charge for its initial card (R79 for collection at Clicks or R139-R179 for delivery). TymeBank cards are issued automatically by its kiosks at PnP and Boxer, while African Bank cards are issued by its branches.

African Bank’s account does not seem to have SendMoney functionality. Account holders would effectively need to make an immediate payment, at a fee of R10.

Sending money to someone costs R8.50 for Bank Zero account holders, while at TymeBank the fee is R6.

So-called nuisance fees (for example card declined due to insufficient funds) are priciest at African Bank at R4. Bank Zero charges R2 for this, while TymeBank charges R3.

There are material differences in the interest rates offered to savers on these three accounts.

African Bank offers 2.75% per annum on its Power Pocket and 4% per annum on its Savings Pocket.

Bank Zero offers between 2.1% and 3.9% per annum, depending on amount and duration (it has seven-day, 32-day and 45-day notice accounts).

TymeBank offers 4% on its GoalSave from day one. This can increase to up to 8% after the money is saved for over 90 days if your salary is paid into your TymeBank account and you give the bank 10 days’ notice.

Listen to Fifi Peters’s interview with TymeBank CEO Tauriq Keraan (or read the transcript here):


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Try drawing money from a till… its like drawing blood from stones

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